Blog

Throughout New York State, no public document has a greater impact on tax burdens and educational performance than the local teacher union contract. Yet few school districts have made any effort to share these contracts with taxpayers — and so the Empire Center has stepped into the breach by doing it for them. Read More

New York's local property tax cap would be made permanent under the Senate Republican version of a new state budget. From the taxpayers' perspective, it's very encouraging to see the Senate make a high-profile move to line up on this issue beside Gov. Cuomo, who already has promised to seek the cap's permanent enactment. Read More

New York City's welfare caseloads are expanding again—a deliberate and predictable outcome of Mayor Bill De Blasio's policies, as Manhattan Institute's Steve Eide points out in his new "Poverty and Progress in New York" report. Read More

Private sector employment growth in New York State continues to trail the U.S. as a whole, with upstate lagging far behind downstate, according to the latest state Department of Labor (DOL) monthly jobs report. Read More

As part of his plan for allocating $5.4 billion in one-shot windfall funds, Governor Cuomo wants to spend $500 million to expand the availability and capacity of broadband Internet access across New York. But given pressing traditional infrastructure needs, should broadband rate a high priority? Do we really need it? The governor's case, on closer inspection, is less than compelling. Read More

Governor Cuomo repeatedly has said that the state’s unprecedented $5.4 billion cash windfall is a “one shot” that should not be spent on recurring expenses such as school aid or agency operations. Yet his proposed budget language might allow him to do just that. Read More

School districts across New York are clamoring for a full restoration of state aid cuts known as the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA. But a look at spending in the state's second-largest city illustrates how this battle is not necessarily all about the kids. Read More

A little-noticed section of Governor Cuomo’s State of the State “Opportunity Agenda” calls for investing another $100 million in state money in startup companies—even as federal auditors probe Innovate NY, the state’s original dalliance with venture capital (VC). Read More

One of the hallmarks of ride-sharing services like Uber is their practice of temporarily boosting prices to encourage more drivers to accept fares. It’s supply and demand at its simplest, and while critics have derided this price mechanism, anyone giving flowers to their valentine today is living proof that “surge pricing” benefits both providers and consumers. Read More

New York State's largest public pension fund earned 1.91 percent during the quarter ending Dec. 31, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced today. Meanwhile, the New York State Teachers' Retirement System (NYSTRS) has confirmed its contribution rate will drop for the first time in five years when pension bills for 2015-16 come due in the fall. Neither announcement says much about the long-term future path of taxpayer-funded pension costs in New York, however. Read More